Why is the 2020 PAMSP “restart” so slow?

It’s not a “restart”.

The 2020 PAMSP “emergency” contract is a way for PennDOT, for about one month, to address their violation of (2) statutory requirements – the training of under 18 yr old riders (which they have been doing, on their own, completely via web…) who require taking and passing a PA Beginner Rider Clinic and offering the citizens of PA motorcycle training funded by fees [still being] collected from PA motorcycle permit and license holders.

The “emergency” contract ends 12/31/2020, training will likely end well before that due to weather, and will only occur at a few sites across PA.

If you are looking for training start here, but keep in mind classes will be limited, students will not only have to bring their own riding gear (glasses, jacket, pants, boots & gloves) but helmets as well… classes start around 9/30/2020 (some sites may start sooner).

PennDOT made any resumption of services far more difficult:

When PennDOT cancelled the contract in 2020 they announced there would be no training in 2020 and simply left bikes in sheds around the Commonwealth – and refused offers to maintain them.

Ultimately PennDOT paid to remove all of the bikes & transport them back to the central warehouse, unattended. If you know anything about carbureted motorcycles & gasoline containing ethanol leaving them sit does not bode well for restarting them at a later date without a lot of time, effort and possible carb rebuilds… just look to the restart costs of 2017…

PennDOT also paid to have their staff visit each site, change the locks, inventory it and remove all materials from the sites. That’s correct – each site retained only a shed (perhaps) and paint on a parking lot (if it wasn’t a chalk range…).

By cancelling the contract PennDOT also forced the severance of existing site level agreements – contracts between landowners and PennDOT/PAMSP to operate training on those sites.

For all of you complaining about “spending” PAMSP money spare us the false bravado – nothing meaningful has been done to address it.

Meanwhile any 2020 “restart” was considerably complicated by PennDOT.

Complexity creates delay:

PennDOT notified the “winning” vendors – (2) Harley Davidson dealerships with their own training facilities and (2) vendors, one awarded 1 site and another vendor awarded 21 sites – of their assignments on 8/31/2020 with a targeted 9/31/2020 start date.

All Instructor paperwork is unable to be located and so Instructors had to resubmit paperwork, potentially to 4 different vendors if they were working for all companies awarded training sites.

All Instructors then had to attend a mandatory PennDOT “training session” which reiterated much of what Program Administration companies are required to present to their employees, as Instructors aren’t PennDOT employees.

There are no motorcycles at any of the sites and with no mechanics PennDOT staff are trying to start unmaintained bikes stored in the warehouse for vendors to pick up and deliver to “their” sites.

The sheds were cleared out by PennDOT removing all carts, cones, clipboards, etc. Typically this is never done but is another thing the vendors must provide, at their own expense, for each site.

Site contracts were broken in April and mean that for some locations while they were awarded to a vendor they will likely never open in 2020. This is something that only happened due to the PennDOT contract cancellation as site level agreements are renewed regularly and maintained to ensure training continues without delay.

The Program laptops and projectors were all removed and are not being made available to the vendors. What happened to them, who knows. Again the ‘winning’ vendor must acquire new laptops & projectors, provision them and get them to sites across PA in a very short time. At their expense – cost, time, effort, logistics.

Paperwork must be retained by the vendor, who also has to make provisions for retaining documentation that contains personal student information, as well as printing any documentation they no longer have. This paperwork would normally be sent to PennDOT upon the completion of classes but no longer, it is now the responsibility of the vendor.

Scheduling is no longer centralized, each vendor must maintain their own scheduling system and customer service, web sites to notify and inform students of class requirements and availability – none of this information has been centralized, largely performed by word of mouth at this time.

What does this mean for 2021?

Nothing, other than additional complexity, confusion and cost.

The sites awarded to the vendors in 2020 have no bearing or relationship to the 2021 contract.

So we’ll be doing all of this over again at more sites, with more curricula, with more vendors and less motorcycles in running condition, in 2021.

Had PennDOT not cancelled the 2017 contract all of this would be moot.

Trained and certified Instructors – including the nearly 30 currently in training before the start of the 2020 season – were ready to train students as sites became available in 2020.

This was well known to PennDOT who merely had to keep the program on standby, in maintenance mode, in order to roll out training as sites became available.

Instead PennDOT cancelled the contract, fired all of the staff and Instructors, reclaimed all of the materials from the sites and declared there would be no training in 2020. Until they decided they would have training in 2020.

Every Senator on the PA Senate Transportation Committee as well as the PA Auditor General’s office have been emailed to provide any response on the lack of oversight for PennDOT and their operation of PAMSP.

If we ever hear back from them we’ll let you know.

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